There is one name among South Africa’s musical talent that has reappeared again and again over the last decade at awards ceremonies, in fashion magazines and of course, at the top of the music charts.
Female vocalist Lira has achieved more in her career so far than many artists manage in their entire career. Nominations and awards from South African Music Awards, MTV Africa Awards, Channel O Awards and MOBO Awards as well as Glamour Magazine South Africa's "Woman of the Year" have seen Lira remain at the top of the music industry.
The 33-year-old is a contemporary artist in changing times – and lays claim to being first African artist to release a blu-ray DVD. In fact, her 2009 telecast ‘Lira; Live a Celebration’ became the first Blu-Ray to go on sale in Africa and went on to secure 3x multi-platinum certification. Described as“a fusion of soul music, elements of jazz, funk, and African languages” her first five albums and her first live DVD have also achieved platinum and multi-platinum status.
Not content with being a superstar in her homeland of South Africa however, Lira is releasing her new album ‘Rise Again’ in North America in a bid to conquer the USA. "Within South Africa, I almost feel like I've done everything, I need to spread my wings and fly. I'm thirsty for it. I'm enthusiastic about it. I almost feel like I needed to take this long to get ready, to grow as a musician and a performer. Now I feel like I have something to offer,” she said.
The album draws its songs from Lira's massively popular South African releases, with ‘Feel Good’, ‘Believer’, ‘Valley of Darkness’ and the title track all on the track list.
Lira is also branching out onto the big screen this year. In May she makes her cinematic debut as the support lead in the Antonio Falduto directed drama, ‘The Italian Consul’ (‘Il console italiano’). The film premiered at the Taormina Film Festival in Italy where Lira became only the second African vocalist to grace the Teatro Del Greco stage since Miriam Makeba. The singer stars in a lead role opposite Italian actress Giuliana de Sio - as well as Edwin Angless and Anna Galiena, while the film centres on the trafficking of girls in Europe.
Lira is part of a group of African artists making an impression stateside, along with K’Naan, Nneka, and Ayo. The singer said that promoting the continent on the world stage is important.
“We're proud of being African, but there’s also a desire to be a part of the world. Part of the way we can raise the consciousness back home is when people see us rise on the world stage. We don’t do it for the individual; we do it for the entire group.”
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